Hurricane STEM challenge


Design Challenge Title: Hurricane STEM Challenge

Author(s): Carlie Sartiano, Karla Jelonek, Marissa Armstrong

Background and Question/Challenge:During this lesson, students will gain an understanding of the color-coded warning system used for natural disaster awareness and learn about the possible causes of flooding. They will discover action steps to prepare for natural disasters and prevent some of the possible negative effects afterward. Students will integrate and exhibit learning by creating a flood barrier and warning system as a model to protect a community from flooding.
SDG Goal: 13: Climate Action - Take Urgent Action to Combat Climate Change and its Impacts.Why is this challenge relevant to students? This lesson is relevant to students because it covers a variety of geographic areas and topics. First, it covers the topic of weather. This could be adapted for younger and older grades. For younger grades, you can discuss the different types of weather. For older grades, you can discuss how the different types of weather affect areas and how you can help these areas. Students and their families will be better prepared to handle weather situations.
Constraints/Criteria: Prior Knowledge of Students: Some groups may need more knowledge explained to them before completing a task. For example, some students may not have seen what a hurricane is or can do. These videos will provide examples hurricanes and show the effects that it can do in an area:Some students may also need vocabulary explained to them before completing a task. There is a list of vocabulary below in the section titled “Literature Connections.”Group students into 3 groups based on skill level. First group would attempt to design a house to withstand the winds of a hurricane. Second group would create a flood barrier and warning system. Third group would do the rain gauge and color coded warning system with the microserver.Materials: Operation Hurricane: 
  • SAM labs STEM kit        
  • Crayons
  • Tape            
  • Handouts (Linked Below)
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard
  • Warm Up Slides (Linked Below)
  • Directions with Pictures (Linked Below)
Hurricane STEM challenge:
  • Paper
  • Straws
  • Tape
  • Playdough
  • Fan
Additional Materials:
  • Worksheets (Linked Below)
  • Videos (Linked Below)
  • Guest Speakers
  • Hurricane in a Bottle Video (Linked Below)
Math, Science, T&E, CS Standards:Math - Standard - CC.2.4.2.A.4Represent and interpret data using line plots, picture graphs, and bar graphsScience - Standard - 3.3.4.A5 Describe basic weather elements. Identify weather patterns over time. Technology and Engineering - Standard - 3.6.4.BKnow that information technologies involve encoding, transmitting, receiving, storing, retrieving and decoding. • Identify electronic communication methods that exist in the community (e.g., digital cameras, telephone, internet, television, fiber optics). • Identify graphic reproduction methods. • Describe appropriate image generating techniques  (e.g., photography, video). • Demonstrate the ability to communicate an idea by applying basic sketching and drawing techniques. CSTA Standard - 1B-AP-16Take on varying roles, with teacher guidance, when collaborating with peers during the design, implementation, and review stages of program development.Collaborative computing is the process of performing a computational task by working in pairs or on teams. Because it involves asking for the contributions and feedback of others, effective collaboration can lead to better outcomes than working independently. Students should take turns in different roles during program development, such as note taker, facilitator, program tester, or “driver” of the computer.
Problem Solving Practice(s)/Process(s):
  • Engineering design process:
  1. Define the problem
  2. Generate/brainstorm ideas
  3. Select a solution
  4. Testing and evaluation
  5. Present the solution
  • Design thinking model:
  1. Discovery
  2. Interpretation
  3. Ideation
  4. Experimentation
  5. Evolution
Coding Activities/Lessons: Introduction: Hurricane in a Bottle Warm Up Slides: Operation Hurricane Steps: (Pictures Included in Link)

Create a system with a rain gauge and a color-coded, turning sign to keep track of rainfall in your region:

  1. Attach a Servo Arm to the Micro Servo.
  2. Turn on and pair.
  3. In the settings of the Servo block, observe the angle move as the Slide block is moved.
  4. Test your system.
  5. Drag onto the workspace.
  6. Set the values of the Filter blocks to represent the levels of rainfall sensed by the rain gauge.
  7. Create a rain gauge.
  8. Create a beam from (2) 2-leg connectors and (1) pink straw. Attach the structure to a piece of cardboard and clip the Servo onto the beam.
  9. Glue or tape the rain gauge on the cardboard.
  10. Test your system.
Create a flood barrier and warning system as a model to protect a community from flooding:
  1. Drag onto the workspace.
  2. From top to bottom, in the settings of the LEDs, set colors to - green, yellow, orange, and red.
  3. Drag onto the workspace.
  4. Use Strawbees to construct a model of a collapsible flood barrier.
  5. Create the beams and assemble the first side of the floor barrier.
  6. Create the beams for the second side of the flood barrier.
  7. Create the handle and the feet for the flood barrier.
  8. Tape the feet to keep the barrier in place for opening and closing.
  9. Test your program.
Hurricane STEM Challenge-
  1. Each student/group will be given play-dough, construction paper, tin tray, popsicle stick and tape.
  2. Students will design on paper a model of what they think will withstand a hurricane. How can they build it to withstand wind?
  3. Students will then create their homes using the materials provided.
  4. Once the homes are completed the teacher will turn on a fan and see how their home weathered the storm.
  5. Discuss what made their homes study and what needs to be redesigned.
Extension Activity - Madagascar Activity: 
STEM Career Connections:
  1. Meteorologist - students know when storm systems are headed to certain areas and how it will impact them
  1. Climatologist - they study weather patterns and trends over a long period of time.
  1. Storm Chaser - they develop weather and climate reports using charts, graphs, and computer software.
  1. Environmental Scientist - they would monitor and discover potential threats to natural resources and populations.
Literature Connections:
  • Younger Grades
  • Older Grades
  • Younger and Older Grades
  • Younger Grades
  1. Impact:A powerful or major influence or effect; to hit (something) with great force.
  2. Hazard: A source of danger.
  3. Levee: A bank or mound built along a river to prevent flooding; can be made of dirt or concrete.
  4. Surge: To quickly increase to a high level, or to move quickly and suddenly in a direction.
  5. Flash Flood: A sudden flood of a short duration generally resulting from heavy rainfall in that area.
  6. Severity: The condition of being very serious, unpleasant, or harsh.
Attachments/Student Handouts:  Operation Hurricane Handouts: Hurricane Worksheets: Hurricane STEM activity-
Additional Resources/Notes:
  • Invite Ben Smith from LIU12 (New Oxford) to come to the school to present different STEM materials and show the students how to use them. He is in charge of STEM and the Maker Space at the LIU12.
  • Invite the local news station to come to the school to show the students the different instruments that they use to find out the weather as well as how they find out the information.
  • Take a field trip to the local news/weather station.